Student section at Bragg in need of a revival

Students at home game vs. Fort Valley State University. Photo courtesy: @famu_1887 on Instagram

The fall semester is many students’ favorite because of homecoming, the Classic, the countless parties every weekend and, of course, football season.

Since this year was Florida A&M University’s first football season in two years due to COVID, many students anticipated returning to Bragg Memorial Stadium to cheer on the football team and socialize with friends.

The student section is known for keeping the games hyped with chants, dances and stomping. Senior performing arts and business student Chazriq Clarke serves as King of Orange and Green, and one of his duties is to be a leader in school spirit. He thinks the pandemic has played a role in terms of the students’ enthusiasm not being the same.

“When I was a freshman, the energy in Bragg was booming,” Clarke said. “Sophomore year it was the same thing, booming. All of a sudden COVID came and we weren’t in Bragg for a year and now that we’re back, I definitely feel it’s different. There’s two classes of Rattlers who haven’t experienced football season to know how we have fun at games.”

Aside from his title as KOG, Clarke truly enjoys attending games to support the football team.

“School spirit is different for everyone but to me it means loving FAMU with everything within you,” he said. “Serving FAMU, loving the orange and green and striking in whatever way you can.”

First-year pre-nursing student Cydni Dariso is a member of the STRIKE team, the university’s spirit club. She says her expectations of excitement in the student section were not met at the first home game.

“Before arriving at FAMU, I always knew that the football games are where students show the most school spirit,” Dariso said. “When I went to my first one, it was a little less than I thought it would be. I sat with the STRIKE team, so of course that section was hyped but the rest of the stadium wasn’t that into it.”

There have been three home games, and the STRIKE team member thinks the student section’s energy has progressed.

“As a current member of the STRIKE team, I can definitely say now that there’s more of us, the students are more comfortable and inclined to show more school spirit.”

Dances like “left hand, right hand,” chants like “two claps and a strike” and the wave are being done by students to celebrate after a touchdown or a good play.

Psychology major Sabryn Flagler is a member of the 1887 hostess, which is the university’s first hospitality styled organization. She works with other members to give recruitment tours of the campus and field house before football games while also assisting alumni as part of the Jake Gaither Society. In contrast to her freshman year, Flagler thinks the energy at football games is not the same now that she is a junior.

“During one touchdown, I remember looking up in the stands and there were students sitting down, which caught me off guard,” she said. “My freshman year, whenever a touchdown was made, everyone would be standing and cheering as loud as they could.”

With how full the student section has been at the home games this season, there is definitely potential to revive that vibrant spirit for the homecoming game on Oct. 30.